Hi. How are you. This is my very first attempt at a new thread.
Somebody (Ok it was John Corrado) mentioned being “Gifted and Talented”. Yeah, me too. And I’m betting it’s not that uncommon on this site.
So…were you Gifted and Talented? What does it mean to you? What did it mean to you? What did your school do about it (in compliance with whatever federal mandate put it into place, I guess.) Are people still Gifted and Talented? Or is it just an artifact of a 70’s/80’s childhood?
What do we think about the choice of words?
Myself…we had Junior Great Books, and a “creative” group we were called out of class for, and which met in a little room in the basement like an AA meeting. Then in Junior High they forgot all about us.
Yeah, I gotta admit that I was. As geeky as it makes me sound, yeah. I was in advanced classes all through school (only math in elementary, but most everything in High School). I also got art awards, acting awards, writing scholarships, a Film & Video Scholarship based on my abilities and creative work.
I know that there are still special high school classes up here that are advanced. I forget what it’s called, but it’s world renouned. I’ll think of it later.
Gifted. My school district didn’t put a lot of money into gifted student programs, tho. Mostly it was a waste of time unti you got to the levels where they actually had advanced classes, like Calculus and A.P. this-and-that. My mom actually pulled me out of the gifted program because it was such a waste of time. The woman they had running the thing didn’t even have a teaching degree. Sheeesh.
Oh, yeah, well, I did get one thing out of the program. They put us through a speed-reading course. Last time I was tested, I read in excess of 300 wpm with over 90% comprehension. It was fun and challenging, so I don’t think that was a waste of time. They had a little machine that displayed one line of a story at a time, then got faster and faster. You read as fast as you could, then took a quiz on the story. It really worked.
I was in elementary school. The program was called Enrichment, and instead of trotting off to math every Monday, I went to another classroom, where about seven other kids and I were given those silly logic puzzles (“From the clues below, figure out which person lived in which apartment, owned which pet, drove which car, and had which color curtains.”) Ugh. If I remember it correctly, we also did a little newsletter. That’s the only thing I really enjoyed- the computer/desktop publishing introduction.
Yeah, I was one of the “gifted” kids. What did it mean to me? I was always younger than everyone else in the class, couldn’t drink with my friends easily when I was in college-being 15 when you go away to school is not the easiest thing in the world.
Also mean though, that I learned that I am smart, and that I can do anything that I want to with my brain. Given that, I don’t use it as much as I could, but…I know that the ability is there if I decided that I wanted to, oh, I don’t know build a bomb, infiltrate the govenment, or write a novel- not to say that I would do any of those things well, since I have never had the attention span to stay with anything for too long…
But it was interesting-and worth it looking back from where I am now. Of course, now I’m just another corporate peon…living a mundane, ordinary life…
I was in the Gifted and Talented Program. In California, the program was previously “MGM”–mentally gifted minors. My recollection is that it changed over when I was in late elementary school or early junior high. This would have been in the very late 70s or so.
I don’t really recall much about “GATE” as it was called, except that it positively SUCKED compared to MGM. MGM had two incredibly cool classes that I remember: one on mythology, the other on Sherlock Holmes. Gate had a lot of suckage.
When I transfered to public school in fifth grade, I was put into the standard group. Then, everybody in the standard group did better than the gifted, and all tested into the Gifted program for 6th grade. We showed those geeks what was what…
I was in it too, though we called in Talented And Gifted (makes a better acronym that way, I guess). I always thought it was a poor choice of name, I mean what does it say about the students who AREN’T in the program?
Ah…TAG class. A perfect chance for us to play computer games on commodore 64’s and read omni magazine. God I loved that “self directed learning.”
To me TAG meant that I could rationalize anything that I was doing and get away with it. Consequently I came out of high school with excellent SAT scores and not a clue on how to study. I was pretty damn shocked when I took college level physics and chemistry. All the same, I think it was better that I was goofing off than falling asleep in the general classrooms where they seemed to teach us the same damn thing over and over.
Now I think TAG is a mistake. There should be a wide variety of teaching techniques for all sorts of different learners. I think the folks that didn’t learn as fast in school, couldn’t do it becuase the teaching model we have just plain sucks. I think it’s better at conditioning kids for factory work than actually helping them learn. Maria Montessori had the right idea, almost all of the kids I’ve seen in well run Montessori schools were what public schools would call “gifted.”
Our Gifted Program wasn’t much of anything in elementary school. My memories are a little foggy, but the one thing I remember clearly was that our 4th grade teacher decided that we needed to learn how to type because we’d need that skill for writing papers in college. We had a book and a typewriter in the back of the classroom and we had to teach ourselves.
In high school, there were specific Gifted activities, like the Math Olympics and a bunch of other stuff I don’t remember. I didn’t really get into any of them until Senior year, when I found out that everyone who did participate got to spend all of their free periods in the Gifted room screwing around, and they could even get out of actual classes to spend time in there pretending to work on Gifted stuff. So, since I had gotten all of my required classes out of the way, I had 5 free periods a day that year, and I spent them all in the Gifted room playing on the computers or playing games and stuff. It beat study hall, especially since I’d always get in trouble in SH for talking.
We also had an option of taking one college-level class a semester (this is Senior year only), taught at the high school by a local community college teacher. We got college credits for those classes, so the one good thing there is that I have 2 A’s on my transcripts.
Of course, the fact that graduated high school and went on to quit four colleges in three years and have YET to get a degree should tell you something about the study skills and discipline I learned in the Gifted Program. I feel like they set us up. “You’re smarter than anyone else, the rules don’t apply to you.” Fast-forward to college, “You’re not as smart as you think you are, and all the rules apply. Suck it up.” I don’t blame them for all my screwing around, of course. I just didn’t make the transition well at all.
I got put in the TAG class in 2nd grade. It was really weird though, because I was the ONLY ONE in my class that was in it. Talk about exclusion. That can’t be good for a little kid. But I liked it, it made me feel smarter. =)
The funny thing is, though, that I was also placed in an IEP (Individualized Education Program) because I was failing in certain classes, and was not very organized. And I was diagnosed with mild autism (the technical term was asperger syndrome. I love saying that! ass-burger ass-burger…)
So throughout school (which I am still in, BTW) the councilors(sp?) couldn’t make up their mind whether I was gifted or struggling, and the whole thing turned out to be kind of a mess. Maybe that’s the reason I have a “screw this, I’m teaching myself” attitude nowadays.
Our program was called Providing for Exceptional Potential (PEP) and it was comprised of kids bussed from all the schools in town into one. The major downer of it all was that it only went through Jr. High/Middle School so that just when you need your friends the most, they’ve all been split back up into different high schools. I had the opportunity to take “honors” classes in HS but I said “Screw that! I’m gonna coast!” Which of course ruined me for college, lol.
We had the Gifted program. In elementary school (after first grade) it was a pull out program, 1 or 2 afernoons each week, they rounded up all of the gifted kids in a particular grade, bussed them to one of the four elementary schools, and we did “enrichment programs”.
Middle School we had “challenge” English and History classes, and were supposed to be in “honors” everything else. In High School there wasn’t anything when I went through. They’ve since instituted a 2 period per cycle class that’s also “enrichment”.
It was nice, and we weren’t overly mocked (or didn’t care) about being pulled out. It used to piss off some of the teachers, though, that we weren’t in the “normal” classes, namely theirs. But everyone delt reasonably well.
I’m all for gifted type programs, but there should also be enough flexibility in classrooms that everyone gets what they need. And I’ll stop there, we don’t really need to air my entire educational philosophy at the moment.
I went through the California state MGM program in the late 70s. I was excused from class for a couple hours a few days a week, where we read Macbeth and did math problems involving formulae and concepts I had no idea existed.
When I got to middle school, it was changed to Gifted And Talented Education, which IIRC, involved English and social studies. I made a lot of friends in those classes, and really enjoyed the subject matter. It’s no accident that two of my favorite subjects to read about are about language and various social sciences. The teachers I had instilled their love for their subjects in me.
In high school, however, all there were were AP classes. I took what I could; for the most part, though, high school was a huge bore. I ended up flunking out and reading every book I could get my hands on. I think I got a better education that way than I could have in class. If nothing else, I at least learned to think for myself and not accept some teacher’s school board-approved version.
One downside to being labeled “gifted” is that teachers’ expectations seemed to rise. I suck at math, yet most of the math teachers I’ve had have expected me to be good at it. The other downside is that I was also picked on for my intelligence by the other kids. It’s not easy when the adults around you make a big deal about you for something you can’t change, and the other kids don’t get that attention.
Ahh, the good ol’ days of school once again. I remember when I lived in Denver, I went through the “Gifted & Talented” program up until fifth grade, when my family moved to Ohio. I don’t remember a whole lot about the program, but one thing that sticks out in my head was this: All of us were given a sheet with a hundred easy multiplication problems on it. The idea was to get it done as fast as you could and get all the problems right. I had the fastest time with 36 seconds. Nobody had beaten it when I left, that I know of, anyway. As for middle school, we had advanced classes. They were a bit more challenging than the regular classes and a whole lot more fun. More projects and field trips. Those were fun. Silent_Rob, I think you’re thinking about the AP (Advanced Placement) classes. Those kinds of classes make your head spin if you’re not used to it. Well, there’s my two cents worth. Bye for now!
Thanks! I don’t feel so alone, now! I suffered the same fate. I started College three times, and quit three times. Whe someone asks me if I have a degree, I reply that I certainly do. I received the “third degree” for dropping out and never returning.
All in all though, I can generally handle life better than most oof my college-educated peers, since the PEAK (Pupils Excelling in Ability and Knowledge) program I was in through Junior high and part of high school strongly encouraged individual study. I have educated myself very well.